This is how the Washington Post piece today on the Limbaugh-Fox controversy begins: “Possibly worse than making fun of someone’s disability is saying that it’s imaginary. That is not to mock someone’s body, but to challenge a person’s guts, integrity, sanity.”
That’s from a “news” story.
Rush said what doctors and other experts were saying off the record on Monday when the news of the Michael J. Fox ads were fresh to the election buzzlines: That it looked like he must have laid off his medication to make sure viewers would have a worse-day kinda look at life with Parkinson’s. As Limbaugh has pointed out, Fox admitted he does such things (like when testifying before a congressional committee) in his memoir. I knew this because I watched the E True Hollywood Story on Fox (true story, alas). That’s not to say that he doesn’t suffer — he obviously does. But the hard-to-watch Fox ads we’ve seen this week were, like most political ads, made in Spin City.
To make the point Rush made was not mean or heartless. Just as Jim Talent’s position or Michael Steele’s on stem-cell research isn’t mean or heartless. It was an honesty check — a worthwhile and fair one considering the disingenuousness that is characteristic of this debate — the Fox ads just being the latest examples in a long line. As Rush pointed out on his show yesterday (scroll down), it’s mean to give people false hope. And when it’s suggested in no subtle way that sick people will be sick if Democrats lose and cured if Republicans do — it’s being done now in Missouri, among other places and it’s been done before (think John Edwards as snakeoil salesman in 2004 ) — that’s mean. And that was Limbaugh’s point.